Where To Introduce The Parents Because It Has To Happen EventuallyThere comes a point in every relationship when it's time to introduce the parents. Do it at one of these restaurants.
The relationship has reached an inevitable milestone: it’s time for the parents to meet each other. Tensions are high, lower backs are tight, and your dad’s been rescheduling that hearing aid consultation almost as long as you’ve been putting this off. But it’s time. And now you know how Goldilocks felt. Because finding a restaurant that’s not too loud, not too cold, and has a parent-friendly menu that’s not too expensive for the inevitable argument over who pays the check would normally take a lot of research. So we did it for you.
photo credit: Photo Courtesy Michael's
Michael’s is the right amount of fancy to make you feel special, but casual enough to calm your nerves about a meal that may be the reason why future Thanksgivings become white-knuckle events. There’s indoor seating and plenty of outdoor tables for the friolenta moms who carry sweaters with them in the summer. Plus, the food and service is always consistent. And just about everything on the menu is recognizable: roasted cauliflower, pizza, deviled eggs, and snapper. The only surprises here are the looks you’ll get when the in-laws realize this is more of a baby-announcement-meal than a meet-the-boyfriend-meal. Luckily the four-tops have hidden leaves that can expand into six-tops for your growing family.
photo credit: Katie June Burton
Orno was made for moments like this. The main dining room has a few round tables that can fit parties of six. And there are plenty of safe dishes on the menu like chicken, snapper, steak, and pizza. If your group is a bit smaller than six, see if you can sit in Orno’s “library room.” It’s smaller, more intimate, and the words “knowledge is the food of the soul” are lit in a neon cursive sign above the banquettes. Let these words guide you because watching their parents can give you a pretty good indication of what your own future will look like. And if all goes well, you can page through the Chanel coffee table book on the shelf and start designing that wedding dress.
photo credit: Deborah Jones
Bouchon is a fine dining restaurant that does a convincing impression of a casual French brasserie. The paper menus, upbeat soundtrack, and fact that the entrees are all below $50 should loosen everyone up. But you can also take comfort in the fact that service here is a tightly choreographed routine that will (hopefully) minimize the amount of exasperated huffs your dad usually deploys during dinner. The only hurdle is the fact that getting a reservation (and you do need one) requires planning up to a month in advance.
photo credit: Cleveland Jennings
We find ourselves recommending Silverlake in North Beach for all kinds of occasions, because (unlike you from ages 14 through 17) it’s so incredibly easy to love. The mostly American dishes are reasonably priced and delicious. Service is friendly and efficient. And the intimate restaurant is cute, with wallpaper that’ll make mom elbow dad while suggesting how good it would look in the kitchen, which she’s been trying to get him to remodel for the better part of a decade. Go ahead and change the subject to Silverlake’s cheeseburger, which is one of Miami’s best, or the gnocchi mac and cheese that’s cooked in duck fat, which (yes, mom) is as good as it sounds.
photo credit: Cleveland Jennings
Vinya Table was made for parents who toe the line between adventurous and familiar. For the father who fancies himself a wine connoisseur, there are plenty of varietals and vintages to choose from. He can have a bottle or two (depending on how things go) of Vega Sicilia while trying to suss out how your partner can afford a Patek Philippe watch on an “import specialist” salary. While dishes like morcilla spring rolls and black ink risotto allow your mom to signal how hip she is to your significant other. But if the topic of conversation turns to politics, you should know Vinya has a liquor store in the back with bottles of tequila you can bring home.
photo credit: Karli Evans
No one does comfort food like Blue Collar, and sometimes being around a partner’s parents requires emotional support in the form of latkes or one of the very best cheeseburgers in Miami. That’s what you’ll get at Blue Collar: incredible and easy-to-love dishes like ribs, po’boys, and a great key lime pie. It’s also very casual here, so keep this in mind if the parents no longer leave the house in anything except shorts and sandals. The only downside here is that it’s quite tiny inside—but there’s a slightly less claustrophobic patio, and you can make a reservation too.
photo credit: Tasty Planet
Are your cousins your best friends? Is your aunt insisting that she also come along? Can you start a rugby team—a very loud rugby team—with your dad’s side of the family? Well, Little Havana is big enough to fit them all while drowning out all the noise (and your aunt’s offensive perfume). The big wooden tables can be combined to form banquet-style tables long enough to fill a viking mess hall—one that serves some of the best Cuban food in Miami. If both families are meeting for the first time, you can seat each one on either side of the table and get a glimpse at what your wedding ceremony will look like. Just try to sit gramps near the middle so he can be close to the vaca frita and hear everyone better.
The parents want steak, and yet the parents also think a ribeye over $100 should be reported to the F.B.I. Then take them to Fiorito, a great Argentinian restaurant and one of our favorite spots for reasonably priced beef. There’s not a steak on the menu here above $40, and it’s walk-in friendly too, in case your folks are incapable of planning more than 24 hours in advance. It’s casual, but the service (and food) is good. Just one thing: maybe you should drive. Fiorito has a very cramped parking situation that could stress out a pair of future in-laws.
photo credit: Courtesy Edge
And for the parents who don’t flinch at expensive protein, try Edge in Brickell. This spot is as fancy (and pricey) as one would expect from a restaurant inside the Four Seasons. But it’s also really good, and service is always marble-smooth too. Plus, there are steak options here for well below $100, like the excellent wagyu churrasco. Overall, it’s a safe, reliable pick if you want something upscale, dignified, and delicious. Just try to emotionally prepare the folks for driving in Brickell (or order them a ride and save everyone the trouble).
Maybe the collective folks are early birds, or perhaps you just want to have the rest of the day to hug a pillow and compile notes for your therapist if this goes south. Either way, if it’s going to be a brunch thing, do it at Rosie’s. Nobody’s pounding mimosas and being loud here. It’s easy to have a conversation, if only about the outstanding food, which includes versions of southern American hits like fried chicken and waffles, biscuits, and shrimp and grits. They do take reservations too, so you don’t have to stress about a long wait that initiates a dad tirade that'll surely make everyone around you uncomfortable.
photo credit: Michael Stavaridis
This is a safe place where Midwestern parents can find common ground with South Florida parents over scallops a la plancha. The food is really good and also really approachable—it’s oysters, gnocchi, and giant crab cakes. The portions are generous and the prices are very reasonable for Brickell. It’s also not too loud, and those green chairs are pretty darn comfortable. This is the kind of fairly-priced check all dads live to fight over (and write the tip amount in cursive—which they claim no one knows how to do anymore).
photo credit: Merritt Smail
Your mother’s hairdresser has been talking about Motek for weeks now. So she’s printed the restaurant’s review, circled “mushroom hummus” with a bright pink highlighter, and googled “Moroccan cigars.” Luckily, she really can't go wrong here—everything is good. But the only thing she’s dying to do more than try those dishes is meet your new partner (she already found their ex on Facebook). The restaurant is big, bright, and has plenty of banquette seating as well as large white booths that seat up to six. These usually have pillows for plenty of back support—or to hide her Moleskin filled with notes on your new paramour.